DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best turns on the Connected Home

BY Ken Clark

Indianapolis However you want to describe it — “smart home,” “connected home” or “home automation,” — products that deliver more control or remote control of everyday home features and appliances is a growing business. According to merchants at Do it Best, Connected Home represents a $61 billion industry.

For the first time, the co-op’s Fall Market set off some space for a display of connected home vignettes. A living room, a kitchen an outdoor patio and a garage were recreated with working voice activated lights and other controls. The purpose: to show how easy it is to make a home “connected” and show the convenience of the finished product.

Among the specific products on display were:

  • The Leviton Decora Smart Rocker Dimmer Switch. This offers total control of home lighting from the My Leviton app.
  • The Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat. Among other things, the device sends messages to homeowners about filter changes and warns of extreme indoor temps.
  • The Ring Video Doorbell. Allows homeowners with a phone or tablet or pc to see, hear and talk to visitors at the front door.
  • Philips Hue A19 Medium Dimmable LED Light Bulb Starter Kit. Requires no rewiring or installation.

One of the ways to maximize the category in a retail setting is to establish a Connected Home champion, “an expert in the category to talk about the features and benefits of each SKU,” the co-op said in its promotional materials.

 

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DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best Corp. reports full-year sales gains

BY HBSDealer Staff

Indianapolis – Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. reported 2017 fiscal year sales of $3.2 billion, a 6.1% increase over fiscal 2016.

CEO Dan Starr announced the end-of-year sales-performance numbers during the shareholders meeting here in Indianapolis. The company also handed out rebates in excess of $100 million for the 14th consecutive year.

Despite the record total sales, Starr said the performance, while very good, fell short of “great.” He explained: “LBM sales were strong all year long, driven by both unit increases as well as pricing,” he said. “But warehouse sales, those sales that most positively impact our profitability, were just .4% above last year – essentially flat and well short of our planned sales increase.”

He added that the co-op’s mindset of pursuing excellence is paying off in improvements in a number of categories. A line review in the dynamic category of light bulbs has shown big results in the month of June, when year-over-year purchases were up 20% while margins were up almost 15%, as sales of LED bulbs are rising.

Starr also plugged the co-op’s The Color Bar paint program and pointed to investment in IT infrastructure. In 2014, the co-op invested a little over $14 million in technology. That number has steadily increased every year to about $18 and a half million dollars this last year, he said.

“We are not just a supplier of goods, but rather a true collaborative partner completely invested in helping you grow,” he told the audience of dealers at the Indiana Convention Center.

During the Annual President’s Address, Starr also shared examples of hurricane-induced retail heroism, including actions by Circle Hardware in Waco, Texas; Petersburg Hardware in Indiana;  Ambridge Home Center of western Pennsylvania; and Niece Lumber of New Jersey – all cited for their support for the relief efforts.

Special mention went to Eric Hall, owner of Jed’s Hardware in Houston, who kept his store open in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. And Ken and Abby Adams, owners of Building Materials Do it Center in Turks & Caicos, struck by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“Like their fellow members, their first thought has been for their neighbors and the communities they serve,” Starr said.

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Do it Best builds business in Indy

BY Ken Clark

Indianapolis — Do it Best Corp. welcomed its army of dealers to the Indiana Convention Center, where it officially opened its fall market with a kick-off presentation and a Friday night Sneak Peak buying spree.

The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op's executives encouraged dealers to take advantage of its Color Bar paint program — introduced at the 2017 Spring Market — and exhorted them to take their marketing to the next level.

[Do it Best points to $3.2 billion in full-year sales. See article here.]

Do it Best VP of Marketing Rich Lynch pointed to a national retail landscape facing upheaval and disruption like never before, and he identified a lesson that independent hardware stores would be wise to recognize. "The thrivers and survivors have adapted to change and have adjusted their marketing strategies," Lynch said during the Kick-Off presentation Friday afternoon. "The others haven't done that."

Lynch also encouraged dealers to not only participate in a rewards program, but to lean on the marketing data that rewards programs generate. "Intelligence is going to be the key to marketing going forward," he said. "The thrivers are going to gather it, embrace it, and use it to make wise decisions."

In addition to promoting the Best Rewards loyalty program, Lynch encouraged dealers to check out the Merchandising Essentials, described as planograms to allow stores to gain market differentiation with the right products. The plannograms work in concert with a new MAX product and profit optimization system that integrates with POS data. 

Friday's highlights also included an outdoor Power Preview of lawn and garden equipment, power tools and related merchandise presented in the friendly confines of Victory Field, adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center. And the traditional and popular 90-minute Sneak Peak event on Friday night was promoted as offering "lowest prices of the year" and "deals so good they are only available for this limited time."

Nick Talarico, the co-op's VP of sales and business development, kicked off the kick-off event with a tour of The Color Bar, the co-op's store-within-a-store paint program. "It's not about selling the liquid in the can," he said. "It's about selling the color and the completed painted room."

The Do it Best Fall Market runs through Oct. 16. 

 

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